The Night Canada Stood Still

The Night Canada Stood Still

How the 1995 Quebec Referendum Nearly Cost Us Our Country

Book - 2014
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The Quebec-sovereignist juggernaut began with the creation of the Parti Qu#65533;b#65533;cois in 1968 and climaxed in the provincial referendum on sovereignty, held on October 30, 1995. On that extraordinary evening, Canadians from all walks of life, in every region of the country, sat glued to their television screens as polling results trickled in from across Quebec. Unlike the first referendum, in 1980, when the victory of the federalist No vote led by Pierre Trudeau was a foregone conclusion, the race in October 1995 was a dead heat. All evening, the returns pitched and rolled, and anxious Canadians pitched and rolled along with them. In the end, the No vote won by the narrowest of margins, 50.56% to 49.44%. This was no euphoric victory, no easy vindication of Sir John A.'s federalist dream. Never before had the country come face to face with its own imminent extinction.

In The Night Canada Stood Still, Robert Wright revisits the drama and intrigue that brought Quebecers and Canadians alike to that fateful watershed event.

Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., c2014
ISBN: 9781443409650
Branch Call Number: 971 .404 WRI
Characteristics: xiv, 351 p. ;,24 cm

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GlenAbbeyWarrior
Nov 02, 2015

I was in the tenth grade when the 1995 Referendum took place, so many of the events and controversies leading up to that historic October night are a blur. Thankfully, Robert Wright does a thorough job at examining the history almost twenty years after the dust started to settle. Sovereignty commissions, the tripartite pact and Parizeau's brash lobster remark are some of the interesting stories you'll find in this well-researched book. But what I found truly fascinating was that the left-leaning author inadvertently vindicated Parizeau for his "money and the ethnic vote" speech. While quoting ad nauseam all the politicians who crucified him for that remark, we also learn that the federal government in the months leading up to the referendum expedited the citizenship papers for tens of thousands of Quebec immigrants, knowing full well that they would vote lopsidedly for the No side. And in a book written ten years later, it is revealed that the No side spent triple the allotted amount for their campaign, in clear violation of Quebec law. So when Parizeau made that career-ending statement, the facts now prove that he was absolutely correct.

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